Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness
by Eric Metaxas
Eric Metaxas’s biographies of William Wilberforce and Dietrich Bonhoeffer were some of my favorite works in any genre. I found them inspiring, full of information while still being readable, and actually theologically educational. I learned so much about these men and their faith. Even my eight-year-old daughter has become a fan of Metaxas because she loved his biography of Squanto for kids. So, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read and review his new book, Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness.
The introduction is compelling. As a woman and a mom with three daughters at that, I haven’t really given much thought to the crisis facing boys and men in our modern times, when ideals of chivalry, strength of convictions, and moral confidence are scoffed at, mocked, denied, and often ripped to pieces by the media and other cultural influences. Metaxas’s goal, then, in writing this book was to address the question of ‘What is a man?’ by looking at seven men he believes represent a model of manhood.
As always for Metaxas, the writing style is readable and easy to follow. The stories he tells are engaging and interesting, and the biographies become more inspirational than just the cold, hard facts with Metaxas’s commentary and presentation. He chose to write about: George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, Pope John Paul II, and Charles Colson. Some of these biographies were more familiar to me than others. In particular, I learned the most and was surprised the most by the biography on Pope John Paul II.
After reading the longer Metaxas biographies, I have to confess I was a bit disappointed by these extremely small, fast-paced, and superficial looks at the lives of seven incredibly complex and historic men. I shouldn’t have been surprised. It makes sense that he’d only be able to give a cursory overview of their lives in the amount of space available.
So, while I wouldn’t consider this book an adequate study on any of these individual men, as a brief introduction to these biographies, this book works. As an exploration of the concept of manhood and an attempt to inspire us to value chivalry, self-sacrifice, and standing up for what is right, this book succeeds. Perhaps more importantly, I’m now intrigued by the lives of the men I didn’t know much about and I can’t wait to read longer, in-depth biographies of their lives.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”